Entree

Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut and Brussels & Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce

Spaghetti with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts proves that that winter squash and vegetables transcend the seasons. Especially when paired with a Greek yogurt cream sauce.

Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut and Brussels & Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce

The weather was finally showing signs of spring sticking around but has suddenly revived its pesky habit of dropping to nearly below freezing today. Here I was getting into the groove of spring attire only to be denied once more. As a result I continue to crave roasted winter vegetables/squash such as Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. With this cold front sweeping the nation I figured a pasta dish with some season-transitioning flavors would help comfort the cold away, especially when paired with a creamy Greek yogurt sauce. I even put some fried sage on top, in all its crispy and falvorful glory.
One year ago: Creamy Pesto with Mini Ravioli, Asparagus and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Three years ago: Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo
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Apple Jelly Glazed Pork Chops

Facts: Glazes always improve a meal and apples pair well with pork. Therefore, the apple jelly glaze used on these pork chops is especially delicious and, better yet, easy to prepare.

Apple Jelly Glazed Pork Chops

Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and a fitful of sneezes despite feeling perfectly healthy the night before. Of course it got progressively worse as the day went on, with full blown sinus pressure and a sore nose. My dad recently came down with a cold so it is possible that I am sick. However, I do tend to get allergy symptoms during the first allergy season after moving somewhere new but never again so long as I live there. Happened when I moved to Columbus, OH and Memphis, TN. The same phenomenon may be happening now that I am in Knoxville. Bleh, I hope it’s a cold because those symptoms don’t last as long.

Either way I have to power through these symptoms for my pickleball evaluation this evening. In case you haven’t heard of it, pickleball is similar to tennis except played on a smaller court with paddles and a wiffle ball. It is all the rage here and my parents play it religiously. Naturally, I got sucked in as well. With my tennis background it was easy to pick up once I adjusted to the shorter paddle. However non-group members can only play indoor or during outdoor open time. After three months the others have decided that it is time I went for evaluation to be placed in a group (5 different groups based on skill level), which would enable me to play more often in designated time slots. Wish me luck!

As for these pork chops, everyone knows how well apples go with pork so why not slather on an apple glaze made with apple jelly (homemade in my case because my dad is the jelly man). Glazing pork chops is all the rage.

One year ago: Slow Cooker Chicken Nachos

Two years ago: Cheesy Potato Casserole
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Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Let your slow cooker do the hard work. Throw the ingredients for this creamy chicken tortilla soup into your slow cooker and you’ll have a hearty and flavorful soup. Don’t forget the toppings!

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup 2

Yesterday afternoon I saw an e-mail that made my tear ducts come to life. Not out of sadness, but instead from pure happiness. The day has finally come – you can now PubMed me! AaaahAAaaAhahAhhhhh!! Here’s to hoping that having this publication under my belt will help me out in the job search.

Click here to read a lot of jargon—> My glorious research paper

If I remember correctly, I first submitted this paper around mid-September 2013. Six months for two revisions with countless figure modifications for new data per reviewers’ requests. I will tell you what though, the biggest pain in the butt was figuring out how to reformat the pictures for my figures to be the correct resolution, size, file type, and lacking alpha channels (wherever the heck those things came from or even what they are). But hey, now I know how to do it for my second paper pending publication. Mastering Adobe Photoshop one scientific figure at a time. And popping open a bottle of wine to celebrate!

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup 1

When that many pieces of a puzzle finally come together to create something amazing, it’s quite satisfying. Which is why you should not be scared by the lengthy list of ingredients for the recipe for this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. Almost all of the ingredients are thrown into the slow cooker together and the remaining few are added at the end or sprinkled on top just before serving. And to prove it, there are only three steps. Let the slow cooker do the rest.

One year ago: Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls

Two years ago: Dark Chocolate Nonpareil Peanut Butter Cookies
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Oven-Fried Parmesan-Panko Crusted Tilapia

Even non-fish lovers will enjoy this oven-fried tilapia. Dressed up just like Chicken Parm with a Parmesan-Panko crust, you may not even be able to tell the difference!

Oven-Fried Panmesan-Panko Crusted Tilapia

Before I talk about this recipe I must add a little commentary about how sad yet excited I am for the finale of How I Met Your Mother tonight. I unfortunately won’t actually be watching it this evening as I have a couple other episodes to catch up on first, but either way cannot believe it is about to be over. It is time for it to end but I will miss it dearly. Now I’ll just have to wait for the boxed set to come out and then rewatch the entire thing!

For Secret Recipe Club this month, I was assigned to Mary Kay’s blog Homemade Cravings. With things such as Tortellini Pizza with Sausage and Alfredo, Cherry Lemonade, and Vanilla Souffle with Chocolate Sauce, I certainly had a fair amount of great recipes to choose from. Oddly enough I ended up picking a fish recipe in spite of my dislike for seafood in general. When I read the post about this tilapia and how all four of her kids enjoyed it despite only recently incorporating fish into the family meals, I knew I had to give it a shot. Mild fish coated in Panko and Parmesan cheese seemed like a safe starting point, and it turned out to be true. This fish-hater could not tell that it was fish. In fact the tilapia itself didn’t taste like much while the crust was the shining star – and Parmesan is delicious! Now if only all fish didn’t taste like fish.

Although I will continue to depend on the cheaper option of chicken most of the time, it’s good to know that I am capable of cooking and enjoying fish for the fish-loving people in my life and not needing to prepare something separate for myself. Thank you Mary Kay for opening my eyes to fish (even if only a sliver). Maybe I’ll get frisky and try another fish recipe such as the Root Beer Battered Fish which sounds like another I would enjoy. I do love root beer!

Three years ago: Orange Beef
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Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas

Searching for a great meatless meal? These cheesy vegetable enchiladas are packed with so much flavor that you won’t even miss the meat.

Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas 2

For the past 5 days I’ve been on the opposite side of the country, visiting family in LA and San Diego because my nephew is turning two, doubling his age! Can you believe it’s already been another year since his first birthday? I certainly cannot. His birthday party was this past Saturday but I am waiting to share the photos until his actual birthday this Wednesday, March 26th. Stay turned for that if you’re into adorable two-year olds.

In the meantime, feast your eyes upon my latest enchilada creation. With  sweet potato, black beans, corn, bell pepper, rice and cheese, these veggie enchiladas are packed with so much flavor you’ll find that meat would be completely unnecessary. And then throw some avocado on top while you’re at it.

Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas 1

Three years ago: Blueberry Cookies
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Baked Reuben Taquitos with Thousand Island Dipping Sauce

Irish meets Mexican in these baked Reuben taquitos with a thousand island dipping sauce. Classic Reuben flavor with a twist.

Baked Reuben Taquitos with Thousand Island Dipping Sauce

St. Patrick’s Day may be over but Reubens are good year-round, which is why you should use up any leftover corned beef that remains to make these taquitos. Oh yea you better believe I mixed Mexican and Irish into one amazing appetizer (or entree). I was inspired to do such a thing after experiencing Irish eggrolls for the first time and figured I could expand it into other food genres. Cooked corned beef is mixed with shredded cabbage and creamy swiss, then rolled into white corn tortillas to be oven-fried with a light spray of cooking oil. While they bake, whip up the thousand island dipping sauce and you’ll be ready to dive in.

P.S. Job hunt news: I had a second phone interview for the job I told you about last week! The one with the writing assignment. Overall I think it went well and enjoyed the conversation. Unfortunately I blanked and then blundered a bit over one question, but managed to compose myself and continue on without another hitch. Hopefully I will receive good news in a week or two regarding the next step in the process!

One year ago: Raw S’mores Cookie Dough Bites

Two years ago: Corned Beef with Blackberry Mustard Glaze
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Slow Cooker Corned Beef with Rutabaga and Carrots

Corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day is like turkey for Thanksgiving – you just gotta have it! My favorite slow cooker corned beef recipe gets a new twist with rutabaga in place of the potatoes.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef with Rutabaga and Carrots

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Every year I say I am going to make something different, such as an Irish beef stew, shepherd’s pie, or some kind of sausage dish, but always end up resorting to my tried and true slow cooker corned beef. I do change it up with a different glaze or an alternative cabbage preparation but this year had just a small new twist with rutabaga in place of the potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts instead of cabbage.

Stick around tomorrow and Thursday for recipes that use up any leftovers you may have after today’s feast!

One year ago: Hidden Pot o’ Gold Cupcakes

Two years ago: Split-Pea Soup

Three years ago: Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
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Leprechaun Pizza

If a leprechaun ordered a pizza, this is what it would look like. Green spinach crust, pesto, mozzarella, goat cheese, and four-leaf clover bell peppers.

Leprechaun Pizza 2

St. Patrick’s Day is a whirlwind of corned beef, rainbows, green food, and Guinness. This recipe is no exception from that list, with a green spinach pizza crust, topped with green basil pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese, followed by green and yellow bell peppers cut to look like four-leaf clovers. I actually tried to find green cheese but decided the white was a nice contrast for the appeal factor.

Using half the spinach pizza dough, this recipe makes one medium pizza. If you want to use it all, make a larger pizza or two medium ones but make sure to double your toppings. Or you could make dinner rolls with the other half. How about cheese stuffed spinach dinner rolls?

In other news my pizza stone and peel are just big enough to make a 13-inch pizza (therefore making this one medium pizza). Although I do have a 16-inch pizza pan, I am now in the market for a 16-inch or larger pizza stone and peel. Because pizza stones rock. If you don’t already own one I strongly suggest adding it to your wishlist. Assuming you like to make homemade pizza on a regular basis.

Leprechaun Pizza 1

One year ago: Kale Quiche
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Spinach Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to make for dinner. The obsession first started with the novelty of making my own pizza in whatever shape or size you desired (at one of my birthday parties there were elephants, butterflies, monkeys, etc). Then came the endless possible combinations with different sauces, cheeses, and toppings. Finally there were the different kinds of dough. It started out simple enough with regular, thin, and whole wheat, but then morphed into more creative outlets such as stuffed crust, garlic bread crust, garlic dough, rosemary beer dough, Greek yogurt dough and even Cauliflower Crust. While most people are debating between sausage or pepperoni, I am still trying to decide on the base let alone the toppings.

Spinach Pizza Dough 1

To make my life even more difficult I created another new dough option, spinach dough just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Although pizza doesn’t normally come to mind when thinking of this holiday the green color couldn’t be more perfect, accomplished by adding pureed spinach to my regular pizza dough recipe. It’s also a sneaky way to trick any kids nearby into eating a little spinach because it adds more color than flavor, and what kid doesn’t enjoy oddly colored food? Just tell them it’s food coloring ;-).

Spinach Pizza Dough 2

This dough could also be used to make a Christmas pizza – red pizza sauce and Mozzarella cheese on top of a green dough. Heck you could use supreme pizza toppings and dub them “ornaments”. Haha oh I’m so witty. But since we don’t want to rush off into winter now that we’ve finally caught a glimpse of spring, stick around for Wednesday when I’ll tell you how to make a “Leprechaun Pizza” using this spinach pizza dough, pictured below.

Spinach Pizza Dough 3

Three years ago: Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
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Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops

When I packed up most of my belongings into a POD, I had all kinds of food and drinks for those who came to help: cookies, pizza, ranch pretzels, candy, juice, pop (yes pop), and liquor. Drinking liquor while moving heavy boxes and furniture is a fantastic idea, isn’t it? Okay maybe not large quantities of it but I did have several more than half-empty bottles of liquor that I was in no mood to put in a box and move, so I told my my friends to drink up or at least take it with them when they left.

Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops 3

There were however a couple select bottles that I did keep and brought them with me. Such as a new bottle of Patron silver, several bottles of wine, and the remnants of Disaronno. Now, my parents do not drink alcohol except on the rare occasion but that didn’t stop me from getting excited by the idea of making pork chops with an amaretto glaze.

Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops 2

It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked pork chops, but these were the most tender and juicy pork chops I have ever had. I’m not sure if it was pounding the crap out of them with a meat mallet that did it or the cooking method, but either way they were fantastic. And in case you didn’t think it could possibly get any better, they were also smothered in a amaretto-maple glaze. Winner winner chicken pork chop dinner.

Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops 1

Three years ago: Easy Garlic Knots
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